Tuesday, June 6, 2017


I'm almost embarrassed to admit that the 5 year anniversary of the opening of Atelier Ivaan on Dupont Street went right by me. May 31st, in case you care. In fact, it was only three days later that I asked myself, "When's our anniversary coming up?" and realized it had passed unheralded.  That is something that would never have happened in our marriage, because we married on April Fool's Day, and there are always plenty of reminders that our wedding anniversary is approaching.

This year, I've been burning the candle at both ends.  I've been on a mission to complete the upgrading of my degree in Italian to a Specialist degree, and la tocca finita, as they say in Italian, of the Italian Specialist program is to undertake a research term on one of a few projects under the direction of a professor.   I had applied to a project involving a collection of vintage Italian films, and was accepted.  I asked if my research term could be moved up so I could complete it during the summer months, and received approval.  So in addition to running the store, working in the palliative care hospice where I volunteer, my piano lessons and everything else, I would now be spending 20 hours a week working on the repair and conservation of vintage films.

And that is where I was on May 31st: in a chilly archival vault wearing steel-toed construction boots.   I had to race home at the end of the day for client appointments, and I really felt as though my life had been turned on its head.

But, five years, you know, feels like an achievement.  Still, I often feel quite incompetent as a shopkeeper.  I still wander away from the shop on occasion, leaving the door unlocked.  Only last week, I was expecting a friend to come by, so I went upstairs to the kitchen to make lunch in case she was hungry when she arrived.  As I was taking an apple crumble out of the oven, I heard a female voice downstairs, calling "Hello!"  I assumed it was my friend, so I went to the stairwell and called back, "Hey, Sandra, I'm up here".  But it wasn't Sandra, it was a customer, who had logically assumed this was a self-serve operation and chosen the items she wanted to purchase without any assistance from the shopkeeper.

After completing her purchase, the customer gave me a funny look and a gentle lecture about leaving money lying out in the open when the shop door is unlocked.  Point taken!

So while the five-year anniversary passed unnoticed, another anniversary is fast approaching that is already causing me anxiety.  This is the year - and the month - where I will become the same age as Ivaan.  I'm not remotely preoccupied with the effects of aging.   Grey hair?  I've always wanted that. Wrinkles?  I think they suit me. I look at myself and say, "Nothing hurts, everything works, and I have more strength and energy than most 30 year olds.  I'm incredibly lucky."  But by the time he was 64, Ivaan was dead.  I've kind of taken over being Ivaan, and this month I'm going to catch up with him, and then surpass him.

So if that's what my five-year plan was, to "just keep right on going", I will have to build in some time for quiet reflection, to decide what I hope the next five years will bring.

1 comment:

  1. This is beautiful, Eya. Happy Anniversaries! I have no doubt the next five years will be as inspirational as the last five years have been. You go girl! Much love to you, jovencita chiquita.